Employee Health Makes Business Sense

July 10, 2014 Katie Tryon and Derek Yach

There is an ever growing body of research that links employee health to critical business financial metrics, including healthcare costs and employee productivity, employee recruitment and retention, and investor returns. There is also an ever growing body of CEOs in organizations who have a deep and obvious commitment to the health of their employees, not only because they believe it is the right thing to do, but because it significantly improves the bottom line of their business. The Vitality Institute was privileged to be invited to the recent meeting held by the American Heart Association (AHA), in which 22 leading CEOs, including Humana, Macy’s, United Parcel Service, Johnson and Johnson and Campbell Soup Company, came together to discuss employee health. The members of this CEO roundtable share a common goal of creating a healthier America, beginning in the workplace. They are a significant part of the broader strategy of the AHA to meet its goal of improving cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20% by 2020.

In our Vitality Institute Commission report, which was presented at the AHA meeting, we highlight the need for strong and sustained leadership in businesses across the country in order to address the burden of non-communicable disease (NCD) in the US. It is extremely encouraging to see this happening on such a significant scale. We further recommend that companies should be publically reporting health metrics of their employees alongside the financial metrics of their business as they are equally significant for the profitability and long term sustainability of business. This will not only enable businesses to “manage what they measure” and adapt health promotion programs to improve the health of their employees, but will also enable investors to consider these vital metrics in their investment decisions on businesses.

Employee health makes business sense, and we need strong leadership to promote this and publically reported metrics to support it. This will enable the workplace to be a significant part of the broader strategy to address the NCD burden in the US going forwards.

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